Palm Desert

Springtime Soothsayers Are Sweet on This Tortoise

Mojave Maxine will once again call the start of spring around California's drier region. How? By exiting her desert burrow.

The Living Desert

YOUR BEST AND MOST ACCURATE PREDICTIONS? They've probably come true, for the most part, over the last few weeks. Maybe you predicted you'd finish your aunt's pecan pie by the day after Christmas or that you'd eat at least 17 latkes on the first night of Hanukkah. Did you predict you'd see some holiday snow? You might have, if you called upon the mountains. But now you'll want to turn your gaze upon the desert, The Living Desert, in fact, where Mojave Maxine is currently enjoying her annual brumation. That means that the celebrated desert tortoise is in hibernation, reptile-style, and she isn't ready to peek out and leave her burrow just yet. Think of her as quite snug in her nook, a spot she retreats to "around Thanksgiving" each year. But the critter's highly anticipated emergence day will soon come, perhaps...

IN EARLY FEBRUARY, or a bit earlier or later than that, and when she leaves her cozy burrow at the Palm Desert-based animal park, we will know that spring in the desert is on its way. She's the Punxsutawney Phil of California, and while tortoises and groundhogs aren't exactly alike, our fanciful human lore says that they share a knack for knowing just when warmer weather is on the wind. And one Mojave Maxine tradition that you can count on, each and every winter? Schoolkids will guess when she might step out into the sunlight. Maxine emerged near the end of January in 2019, if you'd like to take that as a guide, though dates can and range fairly widely between years. Need more information on this annual tradition? Trundle, tortoise-like, in the direction of The Living Desert's mondo Maxine site.

Contact Us